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Behind NYC’s ‘Fearless Girl’ Statue Are 2 Corporate Giants

The aim of the Fearless Girl was to build what ad experts call a "brand experience" of a product or message, using some kind of creative, unique vehicle

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People stop to photograph the "Fearless Girl" statue, Wednesday, March 8, 2017, in New York. The statue was installed by investment firm State Street Global Advisors. An inscription at the base reads, “Know the power of women in leadership. She makes a difference.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
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A bronze of a little girl defiantly facing Wall Street’s Charging Bull didn’t appear suddenly or spontaneously in the middle of the night in Manhattan’s financial district.

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It took months of intricate planning by two corporate giants to install “Fearless Girl” under the veil of darkness in time for Wednesday’s International Women’s Day. Within hours, she became the talk of the town and the world, a sculpted celebrity drawing crowds as a symbol of a woman’s right to move into power positions.

Behind the scenes, State Street Global Advisors, a $2.5 trillion asset managing firm, created the Fearless Girl project with McCann New York, one of the world’s top ad agencies whose client is State Street. The financial giant wanted to spread a serious message: that more women should be appointed to the boards of the Russell 3000, a broad index of U.S. companies.

FILE - A statue titled Fearless Girl faces the Wall Street bull in New York, March 7, 2017.

FILE – A statue titled Fearless Girl faces the Wall Street bull in New York, March 7, 2017.

Only 16 percent of board seats in Russell 3000 companies are held by women, according to ISS Analytics, a business research firm. Also on State Street’s radar are about 500 other firms in Great Britain and Australia.

The aim of the Fearless Girl was to build what ad experts call a “brand experience” of a product or message, using some kind of creative, unique vehicle — in this case, a sculpture, created by artist Kristen Visbal.

“This thing went viral, and it spread globally, all over,” McCann spokesman Jeremy Miller said. “I’m watching my Twitter feed and it’s still a constant flow, filled with images of the Fearless Girl.”

“In my 20 years in advertising, I personally have not seen anything like this,” he added.

On Thursday, streams of gleeful fans posed for pictures with the 250-pound Fearless Girl statue as she stared down the 7,000-pound Charging Bull.

McCann obtained a one-week permit from the city before starting the installation in Bowling Green Park at 4 a.m. Tuesday, completing it as the sun rose on another New York business day.

The ad agency wasn’t trying to be secretive.

“We just didn’t want to disrupt business in the area,” Miller said.

And they wanted to mirror the 1989 arrival of the girl’s bronze counterpart.

The Charging Bull was dropped into place in the middle of a Manhattan night by artist Arturo Di Modica and his team, who had no permit. The powerful piece was a symbol of Americans’ can-do energy following the 1987 stock market crash, and it proved so popular that the city allowed the bull to stay.

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At the end of International Women’s Day on Wednesday, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted that Fearless Girl could remain in Lower Manhattan through April 2. Popular support for the piece to be kept permanently is growing, with petitions being signed.

“Our future rests in the hands of fearless girls,” the Democratic mayor tweeted. (VOA)

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US Senators Want NASA To Extend The ISS Life Until At Least 2028

The aim was to save mony so that more resources could invested into deep space exploration of the Moon and eventually Mars.

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NASA
Representational Image, VOA

NASA should extend the life of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2028, two US Senators said in a hearing to examine the future of the orbiting laboratory.

Senator Ted Cruz of Texas who is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness convened the hearing on Wednesday, which was the first in a series of two hearings to examine the role of the space station.

In its 2019 budget request, the Donald Trump administration proposed ending direct government funding for the ISS by 2025, Florida Today, part of the USA Today network, reported on Wednesday.

“We’ve got this platform up there (worth) north of $100 billion, and it’s there,” Senator Bill Nelson of Florida, ranking member on the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, was quoted as saying.

“Abandoning this incredible orbiting laboratory where they are doing research, when we are on the cusp of a new era of space exploration, would be irresponsible at best and probably disastrous,” Nelson added.

NASA should extend the life of the International Space Station (ISS) until at least 2028, two US Senators said in a hearing to examine the future of the orbiting laboratory.
ISS is a permanent base for astronauts stationed in the outer sky. Wikimedia Commons

The NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 directed NASA to develop a plan to transition ISS from the current regime that relies heavily on NASA sponsorship to a regime where NASA could be one of many customers of a low-Earth orbit (LEO) non-governmental human space flight enterprise.

The aim was to save mony so that more resources could invested into deep space exploration of the Moon and eventually Mars.

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The space agency’s internal watchdog on Wednesday, however, said that private companies are unlikely to take on the more than $1 billion annual cost to run the International Space Station by 2025 as NASA hopes.

The report from NASA Inspector General provided a closing argument against the Trump administration’s proposal to privatise or abandon the orbiting laboratory so soon, the US senators said, according to the Florida Today report.

“The defence rests,” quipped Senator Cruz of Texas. (IANS)